“Mama Wants Success,” by Youth Poet Laureate Angel Gardner

Mama Wants Success

I am balancing on a line in-between what I need to be and what’s expected of me.
Calloused feet no match for the wire gripping the thickest pads on my soles.
And pushing.
The pressure of responsibility
Sending my nerves to a point they never warned me about in sessions of adult preparations, appropriate reactions and DBT.
Now bound tight to a life.
That I am learning how to nurture a being from what was once a seed.
Know
That Mama doesn’t want you to see a survivor.
I need you to see us as nothing less than a success story.
They tell me I survived as if my chapter is somehow finished.
As if I approached each battle shameless and naked, to be told that I was to retreat.
Rather than rebirth from ash and fire like the phoenix I’ve made myself out to be.
So now I find myself balancing on bare feet, wire close to the tendons taut underneath.
Breathing harsh from blunt realization,
With one hand spread across my middle protectively.
Only I can know what to expect from me.
And Mama
Expects nothing less
Than a success
Story.

Congratulation to Seattle’s new Youth Poet Laureate, Angel Gardner, who gave a fabulous reading to the Seattle City Council this morning, on July 12, 2016. She read two incredible pieces, including “Mama Wants Success,” and she spoke beautifully about her platform and the YPL program. To see more of Angel’s work and her schedule of live performances across the city, follow Seattle YPL on Facebook and read about her in the Seattle Times. You can also check out pictures of the 2016 YPL Reading here.

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